The 7th International Journal of Motorcycle Studies Conference 2017 in Colorado Springs took place on June 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Like past conferences, the 2017 conference marked attendance and presentations by motorcycle scholars, artists, and craftspeople. The conference continues to grow with renewed associations locally, nationally, and internationally. It’s no surprise to the motorcycling community, and the academic community that we all love to talk about motorcycles. For most of us, this is a passion, and for many of us, this is our life’s research. So, we are fortunate to have a platform like the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies and institutions like the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, University of the Arts London (Chelsea College of Arts) that have supported, and continue to support our yearly conferences. 2017’s conference did not disappoint. A special thanks to conference organizers Lisa Garber (submissions), Christian Pierce (Reviews Editor), Tim Fransen (Web Designer/Developer) and Alex Ilyasova (conference organizer, site coordinator, and host).
The conference kicked off with the screenings of two documentary films: Hell Rider: Deadly Barrel by Budi Wasisto. A short documentary about wall of death riders in Indonesia. The second film, a documentary short, The Monkey and Her Driver by Ned Thanhouser, tells the story of America’s only all-women sidecar racing team (Kendra and Betty) and their “balky” sidecar “Dixie.”
Both films celebrated specific subcultural practices within larger motorcycle cultures. The films also offered hair-raising filmic perspectives showing skill, risk, racing ingenuity, and entertainment based on adrenalin rushes.
The first day of panels included the keynote presentation by Oslo-based, international photographer, Marcel Lelliëhof. His photographic project documenting the members of Hells Angels Norway sparked intrigue and inquiry about the individuals, family life, and social relationships depicted in his comprehensive book: Helvetes Engler – Hells Angels MC Norway.
Other highlights of the conference included a panel discussion on IJMS founding members, Steven E. Alford and Suzanne Ferris’s latest book project, An Alternative History of Bicycles and Motorcycles: Two-Wheeled Transportation and Material Culture. The panel was moderated by Thomas Goodman and included multiple perspectives and responses to Steven and Suzanne’s book. The discussion included remarks by Mark Austin, Randy McBee, Sheila Malone, Esperanza Miyake (via Skype), and David Walton. There were many informative, and well-researched presentations on myriad of subjects like Terrorism and motorcycles, DIY shops and share economy models, altruism in motorcycle communities, organizing and grassroots efforts in law making, the psychology of riding, television and motorcycle cop representation, motorcycle humor and the comic strip, gay motorcycle clubs, women and outlaw motorcycle clubs, and Sturgis – the largest motorcycle rally. And finally, the last day of presentations included a panel on gender and motorcycling that featured a presentation on the history of the Motor Maids by Cheryl North with guest Dottie West, fellow Motor Maids member and Founder Dot Robinson’s granddaughter.
Our nights were filled with conversation, good food, shared stories, and opportunities to make new connections with first-time conference goers and reconnect with return IJMS conference presenters, journal contributors, and friends. Despite all the socializing, theorizing, and analyzing, we were able to conduct journal and conference business. The board of directors met during a break between panel sessions and laid out a three-year plan for upcoming conferences.
So, the big news is:
Next year’s (2018) will take place near Los Angeles, California (Rancho Cucamonga, CA – on the historic Route 66, San Bernardino County – hosted by Chaffey College). Stay tuned for an announcement about the exact location, dates, and other activities that will be a part of next year’s conference.
For 2019, we invite you, our readers, writer, contributors, fellow scholars to host IJMS.
We would like to have a call for an opportunity to host the 2019 conference – internationally. So, if you and your institution would be interested in bringing together motorcycle studies scholars, enthusiasts, artists, filmmakers, and of course riders, please contact the editorial staff using this form.
Finally, 2020, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, will host the special anniversary of the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies and the establishment of its Conference (celebrating 15 years of the journal, ten years of the conference and our fifth meeting in Colorado Springs). So, mark your calendars, plan your route to Colorado Springs, Colorado for the summer of 2020. We will announce the exact dates later next year.
We will post more information about 2018, and the Call For Papers in the coming weeks.
IJMS Managing Editor